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Garden of the Season – Castle Fraser, NTS

November 1st 2018

Castle Fraser, National Trust for Scotland

From its rhododendron garden to its groves of centuries-old trees, Castle Fraser Garden & Estate is one of Scotland’s enchanting gems. About 15 miles west of Aberdeen, the grounds boast one of Scotland’s largest tower houses – but the history of the gardens is just as intricate.

As it stands today, Castle Fraser Garden & Estate was largely designed by Thomas White, a pupil of Capability Brown’s, who later did surveyor work for the architect. He was commissioned by Elyza Fraser, who inherited the estate in 1792. Some of the landscape features are reminiscent of Brown’s style, along with a subtle twist provided by Miss Elyza Fraser. She intended to personalise the estate for herself.

The present walled garden was created in 1795 to replace the old fruit and vegetable garden that was sited near the east wing of the castle. It was designed to provide all the needs of the castle, with vegetables, fruit and flowers befitting the grandeur of the estate. Today, it is planted with a representative of the needs of times gone by, accentuating the more decorative needs with some interesting herbaceous borders. It does, however, still have a small section for vegetable and fruit production.

The estate also has ancient trees, some perhaps 400 years old, and many of the trees in the landscape are the same as those planted way back in the 18th century. There is a rhododendron garden planted underneath towering conifers, which adds a real splash of colour in springtime.

The garden and estate are characterised by intimate corners of the walled garden and wide lawns and vistas to the castle and surrounding grand trees. On the wider estate, there are extensive walks with wonderful views of the grand castle for visitors to enjoy.


Telephone:  01330 700330

Opening times: All year, daily, 10.00–16.00.

Admission costs: Included when visiting the castle, gardens by donations. Car parking charges apply.  NTS members go free.